6 Months of Blogging: A Spontaneous Retrospective and Look at Things to Come

o hai! 6.5 mons I still here!

Update: Blade Off the Feather showed up as truncated. That’s been fixed, so now it actually is a story.

Back to your scheduled blog entry.

Life is change.

Spontaneous Derivation was born on October 10th, 2007 with a most innocuous post.

Since the first retrospective 3 months ago, Sd has gone through four redesigns, switched from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress, been Stumbled a few times, ended up on Entrecard’s main help page, and put through all manner and form of WordPress plugins.

And through all that, Spontaneous Derivation gained an actual focus for the first time: blogging as a writing form. Although the tag line is much more amusing (and more accurate, since Bein’ Like Totally SeRIouz is something I have a hard time keeping up).

Recently, I was tagged by the good Unfocused Life for the “Six Things About Me” meme. But since I’ve already got an entire page blathering about myself, I’ve decided to instead highlight six milestone articles (or series) I’ve written in these past three-and-some months. Each represents one big step in my development as a writer and blogger.

And while I’m indulging in some reminiscing, you’ll also get a preview of content to come.

1. Moving From Beta Blogger to WordPress

One of the first things I did after that January 10th retrospective was to start thinking about how to shift from Beta Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress installation—and not lose back-links or get penalized by search engines for duplicate content.

This turned out to be rather difficult. However, I will say that the move was very much for the better in my case—WordPress is a powerful and flexible blogging platform.

This series covered what I went through, as well as why I went through it:

Moving from Beta Blogger to a Self-Hosted WordPress for First-Timers:

Future Post is in the Future:
Improving Site Navigation: Getting the Most Out of Categories in WordPress

2. Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb: Writing and the Mysterious, Nebulous, Fickle Audience

Contrary to popular belief amongst some young writers, writing for an audience does not mean you’re selling your soul and sucking all creative juice out of your words and ideas to become an attention whore.

Sticking Out Like a Sore Thumb talks about—if you can believe it—the balance between writing for them and writing for you. Which is to say: you can choose your audience, as opposed to trying to write for the Universe.

Future Post is in the Future:
Find Your Audience, Find Your Voice: Who Are You Writing For?

3. Blade Off the Feather

There’s a form of non-fiction out there that tells a story: something with a beginning, middle, and end; something with an actual plot, rather than an essay, or list of memories, or free-associative musing and ranting. It’s called Narrative Non-fiction. Reading one of these kinds of pieces is like reading a story, except it’s real.

(Or should be real. We’re not talking about fake memoir idiots here.)

I admit to not bothering to have the attention span to hold to an essay. Blade Off the Feather will tell you why.

Future Post is in the Future:
Vitalize Your Slices of Life: Using the Power of Narrative Non-Fiction in Blogging

4. Writing is an Apprenticeship Art: 6 Strange Ideas People Have About Learning the Craft

This wasn’t my first “list of n items : n = 6″ post, but it was the first one where I applied a sense of humor to presenting some personal experience (as opposed to reviewing word count progress meters).

My experience is rather meager when it comes to writing, but I do remember how naive (to put it far too kindly) I used to be.

And still am.

Future Post is in the Future:
Fiction Writing Advice Oft Overlooked

5. HTML for Dummies

I see myself getting sued one day, actually. So let me just say that I’m in no way affiliated with the real HTML For Dummies books, nor am I looking to make any money off the name (not that this is a deciding factor, but perhaps it’s a mitigating one).

The HTML for Dummies posts on Spontaneous Derivation is just a series of small recipes and tiny, pragmatic guides geared more towards someone who wants to change the border in the kitchen as opposed to installing new granite countertops or repainting.

This isn’t my first experience with tutorials, but it was my first experience writing one for the web.

These posts are a little bit popular, sometimes. The third one especially so, because of the plain talk ’bout

s at the end, I believe.

Future Post is in the Future:
HTML for Dummies, Part 4: Shadows, Rounded Corners, and the Many Uses for Background Images

6. Blogging for Writers: 4 Principles for Packing a Punch with Unique Content

See unsubtle title for description of content. Read article, which is also a description of how I came up with that article. It’s very Zen.

People liked it. I’m glad they did. Note the “gosh” quiet understatement here; I didn’t think anything from this blog was going to be Stumble’d so well again after What I Learned About Synopses.

This post was my first 400+ visitor Stumble, from Maki at DoshDosh. By the time I wrote this, I had immersed myself in Twitter and was working the networking thing more than I used to. I use Twitter, which is a low-impact way of getting to know people when you aren’t looking to dive headfirst into the oceans of social media.

You could say that I thought of myself as firmly a blogger after this post. One of those meta-blogger people. I don’t know why it fits; it just does.

Future Post is in the Future:
The Secrets Behind Relevance: Find Out What They Want and Give Them What They Need

funny pictures

11 thoughts on “6 Months of Blogging: A Spontaneous Retrospective and Look at Things to Come

  1. Thanks, Tammy!

    Sometimes it’s been a bit of a bear, and I saw a lot of my friends stop blogging. But I kept going (although I did suffer from some schedule blips myself).

    Like any kind of writing, you need to do it regularly and frequently, otherwise you drop out of the loop. I’m getting back into the groove, and hope that in 9 months I can do another retrospective.

    I love these milestones. Plus they’re an excuse to drag out the LOLcats.

  2. I think in the beginning months is where it shows you either got it or you don’t. You have all these great thing you want to talk about but after a month or so you have went through all those ideas and then don’t know what else to say so they quit. That is why you have to talk about areas you like and have knowledge about to make it any longer.

    You have good topics and you write from the heart as PROBLOGGER just talked about recently. That’s why you made it.

    I look forward to the 9 month retrospective and the LOLcats!
    I hope I am on the same great path! All is well so far!

  3. I enjoy reading..hmmm..I love blogging. Looking forward what I can share with my multiple sites. I just make it simple and enjoy what it takes.

  4. I was down with a blog paralysis. I didn’t know what to do when the first blog I started didn’t seem to have any focus and I really didn’t know anything — inspite of the fact that I did read a lot online about blogging and everything — I am not saying I do now But it is just that I seem to be enjoying the process now and not the end results.

    I don’t give a damn about the money coming in and everything – blogging is like a split personality disorder which translates to half your post being written for yourself and the other half trying to provide value, information or inspiration.

    Great post….keep them Coming …:-)

  5. joylyn, loving to blog is always the first step. :)

    Ashwin, and enjoyment is what keeps one blogging! Thanks, I do try to keep them coming. :)

    I’m probably one of the few writers I know who will say that they write for an audience, rather than just for myself. Some people act like that’s handing away the keys to the car. Thing is though, I choose the audience I write for. We all do, even if the size of the audience is 1 (you).

    I find the process of writing itself interesting, as well as what I write. Which is probably obvious from the focus of this blog. *g*

  6. AJ-

    On behalf of my fine family of blogs [AFTER MIDNIGHT, Tech Forest, and the blog lab], congrats on six months of blogging! Keep going, your stuff is great!


  7. Hi!

    I wanted to commend you on such a wonderful blog, and in only six months time at that! It is filled with wonderful posts, and I love the design… glad to have stumbled across it.

  8. Mike, somehow I missed you—thanks, though it is I admit rather belated of me. Oops. I do visit After Midnight on my EntreCard rounds!

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